Columns

The Morning Briefing: Screw the Distancing—NFL Plans On Filling Stadiums This Fall

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
NFL Throws a Hail Mary

Hope everyone had a good kinda/sorta holiday weekend.

The National Football League is either filled with optimists, really drunk people, or a functional combination of the two. An NFL spokesman indicated yesterday that the league is going with a glass-half-full approach and planning on business as usual when regular season play begins in September.

FoxNews.com:

The NFL is planning for the best-case scenario when the season returns this fall and, according to one league official, this includes packed stadiums.

Executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said Friday that the league is planning “to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise,” according to an NBC Sports report.

“Now remember when we’re talking — we’re talking about August, September. So there’s a lot that can happen here. So we’re planning for full stadiums.”

The NFL has had more time to figure all of this out than the other major sports, which were all blindsided by the shutdowns. The NFL had just entered into its off-season a few weeks before we all went into quarantine hovels. The only disruption was the draft, which ended up being this weird, social-distance remote affair that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hosted from his basement. I hate the format that was adopted for the draft 10 years ago so this year didn’t bother me that much.

NFL

In this still image from video provided by the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks just before the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 23, 2020. (NFL via AP)

The league is going to have to deal with the same problem that Major League Baseball is trying to figure out for its truncated season: different shutdown rules in different states. The NFL covers 32 cities in 22 states, many of which are run by the petty tyrants I’ve been complaining about here since March. That may be an insurmountable problem.

Fans obviously hope that this happens. Watching the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race gave me a little glimpse of empty stadium sports and I can’t say that I enjoyed it much. Crowd noise is an integral part of the football experience, even for the fans at home and Cleveland Browns fans.

The NFL is still better set up for any social-distancing rules than most other sports, given that the stadiums are so huge. Still, I’m not clear on how they’re going to choose who gets to attend the games and who has to stay home.

I have some friends who get together in a different city every year for the first weekend of the NFL season just to day drink and watch ALL the football. I join them on occasion. It would certainly be nice if all were back to mostly normal. I  could even put up with the mask freak-show by the sports reporters if the NFL could put people in the stands.

NFL

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Baseball fans are already hosed out of a real season so it’s up to the NFL now to save the shutdown year. Yes, I’m glad auto racing is back (I’m really waiting for F1 to return but the NASCAR fans get cranky in the comments if I don’t mention it) but baseball and football are my passions.

If the NFL can deliver a sense of normalcy I promise to minimize my complaining about the asinine pass interference rule.

Enjoy This Epic Distraction
On To Better Things

It wasn’t “tumultuous,” they’re only saying that because the media hacks always hated Grenell. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, he pisses off all the right people.

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Bee Me

The Kruiser Kabana

I’m buying a couple of masks ironically this week.

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PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author ofDon’t Let the Hippies ShowerandStraight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear every Tuesday and Friday.